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Non-Dissolution Cases

This site is designed to provide you some general information about the court process and answer some frequently asked questions about paternity, child support and Uniffied Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) matters. This site may not contain all of the questions you may have regarding paternity, child support, and UIFSA matters.

What is non-dissolution paternity and/or a support case?

These are cases which involve issues of paternity (who is the father) and child support and/or alimony payments, and/or custody and visitation issues between persons who are not married or those persons who are married but have not filed for divorce yet.

I need money to support my child. What do I do?

You may come to the Hudson County Administration Building, 595 Newark Avenue, Room 201-Second Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07306 and file a complaint for paternity and/or child support. The telephone number is (201) 795-6777.

How long will it take before my complaint is heart by the court?

When you file a complaint, a copy of the complaint and a notice to appear is sent to you and to the absent parent. The initial hearing is usually scheduled about six weeks after the complaint is filed.

What information do I have to bring?

The parties must bring proof of identification, W-2 income tax forms, social security cards and the last three pay stubs. If either of the parties receive Public Assistance, they must bring their welfare card. Both parties must also fill out a financial statement, provided by the court, before the hearing is conducted. It is the information on the financial statements that assists the court when it calculates the amount of support payments as set forth by the state guidelines.

Who will hear the complaint?

All complaints for the establishment of paternity and/or support are initially scheduled before and are heard by a Probation Officer in Family Court or by a Hearing Officer appointed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. A hearing officer is not a judge but a trained professional who is authorized by the Court Rules of the State to conduct hearings, take testimony (listen to what each party has to say), and make recommendations regarding these issues. If the matter cannot be resolved at this level, it is then referred to a judge.

What happens during the hearing if the issue is paternity?

If the issue is paternity, the man is asked if he is the father of the child. If he admits that he is the father, an Order of Filiation (Paternity) is entered. The last name of the child can be legally changed with this Filiation Order.

If the man denies being the father of the child, a blood test (called H.L.A.) is ordered. The cost of this test is about $525 and must be paid in advance. The cost is usually shared by the parties. If the Welfare Board is involved, Welfare will pay for the test. After the test results are returned, a hearing is then scheduled before a Probation Officer or a Hearing Officer.

What happens during the hearing if the issue is support?

If the issue is support, the Probation Officer or Hearing Officer makes a recommendation regarding the amount of support to be paid. These amounts are determined using Child Support Guidelines set by the State which are based on the total income of both parties. There is a work sheet that is filled out by each party. Each parent is responsible for contributing to the support of the child. If the absent parent is employed, the Probation Department will arrange for the employer to deduct this amount from his/her wages. If there is no disagreement regarding the amount, an order is drawn up and is then signed by a judge.

What if there is a disagreement regarding the amount?

If there is a disagreement regarding the support amount, the matter will be brought before a judge who will ask why the initial amount was unacceptable and will then make a determination and will set the amount of support to be paid.

What happens if the matter is listed for court and the parent ordered to pay the support fails to appear?

If the defendant (the parent paying support) has been properly notified of the court date by certified mail and/or personal service and fails to appear, a warrant can be issued for his/her arrest. Sometimes an order of support will be entered even if the defendant fails to appear in court. This is called a "Default Order."

Should I bring my child to the hearing?

No, children are not permitted unless the court specifically requests that they appear.

Do I need an attorney?

An attorney is not needed for establishment cases. However, if the matter cannot be resolved and it is referred to a judge, you may wish to hire an attorney. The Hudson County Bar Association may be able to assist you. They can be reached at (201) 798-2727.

What if I cannot afford an attorney?

If you feel that you cannot afford an attorney, you may contact the Hudson County Legal Services located at 574 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey (201) 792-6363 or the Hudson County Bar Association's Referral Service at (201) 798-2727 for assistance.

If I have any other questions, who may I call?

If you have any further questions regarding paternity and child support, you may call the Hudson County Family Court at (201) 795-6777.

What can I do if the absent parent lives in another state?

The Family Court also handles Uniffied Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) cases. Residents of Hudson County can file complaints for support to other states through the Hudson County Family Court. The custodial parent (the parent with the child) can pick up UIFSA forms in the Hudson County Administration Building, Second Floor, Room 203. This package of forms must be completely filled out and your signature must be notarized. Four copies of the following information are also required: birth certificate, social security card, proof of earnings (pay stubs, W-2 forms or Income Tax Returns), a listing of child care expenses and medical expenses.

If it is at all possible, try and provide a photograph of the absent parent so that it can be sent to the responding state. A Probation Officer will review the completed package. If everything has been properly filled out and all necessary papers are in order, the package will then be forwarded to the state in which the absent parent resides. The responding state will then process the complaint and attempt to contact the absent parent so that they may begin proceedings to have an order of support entered.

After all of these things have occurred and an order of support is entered by the other state, the Hudson County Family Division is then notified of this finalized order for support.

How long does this whole process take? 

Depending on the state and the nature of the complaint, it can take as little as six months or, in some cases, longer.

Who takes action if the absent parent does not pay?

It is up to the state where the absent parent lives to take enforcement action against the individual if he/she fails to pay the court ordered support.

Who do I contact with questions about my Uniffied Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) case?

An investigator from the Child Support Unit will be assigned to monitor your case. You should contact the investigator if you have any problems or questions.

If I have any questions regarding the Uniffied Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) process who may I call?

Call the UIFSA Unit at (201) 279-6155. It is located at 595 Newark Avenue, Room 203, Second Floor, Administration Building, Jersey City, New Jersey.

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